What is…

Hebrew: עֲרָבָה —transliteration: arabah —meaning: plain (in the sense of sterility); a desert

also known as: Aravah, Arava


This name was especially associated with the generally sterile and hollow depression through which the Jordan flows from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.

The Edomites (Edom/Idumea) lived here.

The Arabs later called it el-Ghor or Al-Ghor. But the Ghor is sometimes spoken of as extending 10 miles south of the Dead Sea, and from there to the Gulf of Akabah on the Red Sea it is called the Wadi el-Araba (Wady el-Arabah).

The name Arabah appears 27 times in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), but in only one verse of the King James Bible (KJV) (Joshua 18:18). Except for Joshua 18:18 and Amos 6:14, the KJV always translates “arabah” as “plain.” In Amos 6:14, the KJV translates it as “wilderness.”

Wadi Araba—satellite view • Note the Timna Park which contains very ancient rock carvings and ancient copper mines associated with King Solomon’s time. It is likely that copper from this site was used by Solomon in building the first Temple of Jerusalem, particularly the huge bronze pillars named Boaz and Yakin. Copper is mentioned many times in Scripture.
Streaming video— 
“Timna: Israel’s Ancient Copper Mines”
Timna Valley had an extensive network of sophisticated copper mines and is now a tourist attraction in Israel’s south.
Length: 5 minutes

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Article Version: June 6, 2019